Campaign group maps out new Oxfordshire network

Oxford cycle route

Plans for a 366-mile cycling network linking all the major towns, workplaces and transport hubs across Oxfordshire has been submitted to the county council by a cycling campaign group.

The Oxfordshire Cycling Network (OCN) calculates that the new route would cost £120m to build, and would improve safety levels and encourage cycling among people of all abilities. This would increase cycling from the current 3% of all journeys to 10%, resulting in £112m worth of savings a year, 80% of which would come from health benefits and 20% from journey benefits, estimates OCN.

Chair of OCN Robin Tucker says part of the funding for the network would come from developers as part of Section 106 agreements. “The routes can be included in developer plans,” he says. “The developers will win too, as the houses and workplaces they build will be more attractive.”

Other funding would come from central government’s Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) due to be published later this year and “smart use” of road maintenance funds, he adds.
“For example, where the council is resurfacing a road it can improve cycling facilities at the same time.”

Tucker estimates the network would take 16 years to complete, based on cycle infrastructure spending levels of £10 per person each year, as proposed by the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group.

Around three-quarters of the network should be fully segregated while cycle tracks within towns, where space constraints are greater, should be semi-segregated, Tucker suggests.
An Oxfordshire County Council spokesman said: “We’ve been in discussion with OCN about developing this as one part of our Active & Healthy Travel programme of work, linked to the implementation of our Local Transport Plan.

“We need to look closely at the detail of what’s been proposed but the idea of developing a cycle network is something that we support. Delivering any scheme of this nature requires resources and funding and so we would need to investigate with OCN how this could be pursued.”

To find out more about Oxfordshire’s proposed cycling network come to Cycle City Active City

Segregated cycle lanes for Westminster Bridge

Westminster Bridge cycle lanes

Work to make Westminster Bridge more pedestrian and cyclist-friendly is due to start at the end of March, writes Patrick McDonnell. The 155-year-old structure will become the fourth bridge in central London to have segregated cycle lanes, with the south-side junction re-modeled to make it easier to cross for pedestrians.

The re-worked layout will improve pedestrian access with three upgraded pedestrian crossings and new pedestrian countdown timers, says Transport for London (TfL). The improvements will further advance links into the wider cycling network such as the East-West Cycle Superhighway and the Central London Cycling Grid, and make the area more pleasant with new trees and benches, new footway material and a 20mph speed limit.

Following consultation with Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, modifications have been made to the design of the bus stop bypasses in front of St Thomas’ Hospital. This work means that these bus stop bypasses will now include a zebra crossing to assist pedestrians crossing the cycle track. The width of the pedestrian crossing point at these bus stop bypasses has been almost doubled to six metres, to reflect the special features of their location outside a busy hospital.

The improvement of the Westminster Bridge area will require various road restrictions until its completion in early 2018, so road users are advised to plan ahead and allow more time for journeys or, where possible, use alternative routes.

Will Norman, London’s walking and cycling commissioner, said: “It’s great news that work is about to start to transform walking and cycling facilities at Westminster Bridge. These improvements are going to make a real difference in the area, ensuring the iconic bridge is safer and more pleasant to use.

“We are determined to make physical activity a bigger part of Londoners’ everyday lives for the good of everyone in our city, and this is exactly the type of scheme that will help to encourage this. We’ve also been looking carefully at the disruption caused by the construction of previous schemes and I can ensure all road users that we will be working hard to ensure that this is kept to an absolute minimum.”

As with any road layout changes of this type, TfL will ensure that staff, and where possible police, are present for the first week of operation of the bus stop bypasses to assist members of the public. In addition, announcements will be made on buses approaching the stop to alert passengers they will be alighting at a bus stop bypass. TfL is conducting a wider trial of zebra crossings at bus stop bypasses and any relevant recommendations will be taken into account in the final design of the bus stop bypasses in front of St Thomas’ Hospital.

Find out more about TfL’s cycle infrastructure plans at Cycle City Active City.

Brighton bike hire to launch in June

Brighton seafront
Bike hire docking stations are due to be installed along Brighton & Hove’s seafront

Brighton’s £1.45m cycle hire scheme is due to begin operation in June, with up to 430 new ‘social bicycle’ (SOBI) smartbikes available for residents and visitors to hire from hubs and docking stations, writes Patrick McDonnell.

Popular sites, including the seafront and Brighton Station, have been put forward as potential docking stations, with the scheme also planned to operate along the A27 corridor, heading out to the university campus sites at Falmer.

Brighton & Hove City Council estimates that nine parking spaces will be removed to make way for docking stations while another four spaces will be removed due to changes to road layout. This would see a drop in parking revenue of £24,000, the council estimates.

The scheme will offer a range of tariffs to suit both regular and occasional users. Hire costs will start from £2 per trip or £8 per day, with users having the option to pay as they go on a 3p per minute tariff (minimum £2 charge) or purchase an annual membership at £72, which includes 30 minutes free use every day.

In January this year a three-year contract was awarded to Hourbike, which operate bike share schemes similar to the London bike scheme in other cities including Liverpool, Oxford and Reading. The scheme is expected to generate new revenue to the council of between £20,000 and £25,000 a year, according to Hourbike’s initial projections.

The total capital cost of the scheme is £1.45m comprising an award of £1.16m granted by the Coast to Capital (C2C) Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) with match funding of £290,000 from Brighton & Hove City Council.

Gill Mitchell, lead member for environment and sustainability at Brighton & Hove City Council, said: “This is an exciting scheme that should work well for the city. The aim is to provide a flexible service that will give more choice to those who live, work or visit the city – providing an opportunity to cycle, even if you don’t own a bike or can’t bring one with you.”

Brighton’s bike hire scheme will be discussed at Cycle City Active City

Female-friendly cycling festival launched

A new event – the Women’s Festival of Cycling – has been launched today by Cycling UK to mark International Women’s Day. The festival will take place in July and will be a celebration of female-friendly leisure cycling, both on and off-road.

The festival will aim to inspire more women to ride bikes for their mental and physical wellbeing, as well as for “fresh air, friendship and fun”, says Cycling UK.

A series of rides will take place across the UK, with many of Cycling UK’s groups and affiliated cycling clubs hosting female-specific rides.

Cycling UK will be supporting this programme of rides by providing insurance and a range of resources such as marketing materials, competitions and promotions.

Julie Rand, Women’s Festival of Cycling coordinator, said: “This is a chance to bring together some of the most inspirational groups and individuals across the UK to reach out to the growing number of women who enjoy cycling or want to start.”

As part of the build-up to the festival, Cycling UK will be profiling women riders and supporters of cycling, both within and outside the charity, who inspire others to take up the activity. “100 Women in Cycling will include women who may not be well known by the world at large but who deserve recognition for their achievements,” says Cycling UK.

Cycling UK says the Women’s Festival of Cycling will aim to encourage women of all ages
and abilities to cycle

'Traffic caused by super highways only short-term'

Roger Geffen: Claims that cycle lanes actually worsen congestion and increase pollution
overall is a classic example of ‘fake news’.

New Cycle Superhighways may well initially increase journey times locally for those driving, but this would disappear in time, while the benefits would be an overall reduction of motor traffic and pollution across the whole road network, Cycling UK has told the House of Commons Transport Committee.

The charity’s policy director Roger Geffen said that localised journey times by motor vehicle may increase, as had happened on London’s East–West Cycle Super Highway. But this would be outweighed by the benefits, with increasing cycling provision allowing more people to travel safely and faster and help reduce urban congestion.

This would bring additional benefits such as cleaner air, improved physical and mental wellbeing, safer streets and town centres that attracts people and businesses alike.

Giving evidence to the committee’s inquiry on urban congestion, Geffen said it was impossible to separate out the localised effects of London’s cycle superhighways from the wider increases in private hire vehicles and delivery vans, and the overall growth in London’s population, he added.

Investment in cycle facilities was still fully justified by the overall improvement in the ability of Londoners to get from A to B, using cleaner, safer and healthier city streets, argued Geffen.

Cycling UK believes there is no single ‘magic bullet’ for reducing urban congestion, but that it requires a combination of measures. These include charging for motor vehicle use to reflect the congestion and pollution it causes, with the money raised being used to improve travelling conditions in other ways. These include high-quality cycling facilities as well as other sustainable transport projects.

Geffen said: “Cycle lanes can take large numbers of polluting vehicles off the road, with a typical road lane carrying an average of 2,000 cars per hour or 14,000 bicycles.

“Claims that cycle lanes actually worsen congestion and increase pollution overall is a classic example of ‘fake news’. Quality cycle infrastructure gives people the opportunity to choose between driving and being stuck in a jam, or a safe, convenient and environmentally friendly way of making their journey.

“Quality cycle infrastructure gives people the opportunity to choose between driving and being stuck in a jam, or a safe, convenient and environmentally friendly way of making their journey.

“The problem we face across many of the UK’s cities is that motor traffic is simply increasing. The growth in use of private hire vehicles and delivery vans is outstripping other modes and straining a transport network already operating at capacity.”

Discuss this at Cycle City Active City on 11-12 May 2017

Cycling czar to set out vision at Street Talks

Dr Will Norman, London’s newly appointed Walking and Cycling Commissioner, will be at Street Talks

A series of free events called Street Talks, focusing on sustainable transport and exploring the best use of public spaces, are being hosted by Sustrans, the UK walking and cycling charity. The first event will take place on Wednesday 22 February at ‘Look Mums No Hands’ cafe in Central London.

The event will see the launch of London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s vision for ‘Healthy Streets’ in the capital, presented by London’s Deputy Mayor for Transport, Val Shawcross CBE, which will be followed by a Q&A with the audience.

Delegates will also hear from Dr Will Norman, the newly appointed Walking and Cycling Commissioner.
Matt Winfield, acting director for Sustrans in London, said: “We’re excited to be re-launching Street Talks and welcoming Val Shawcross and Will Norman on the first night.

“The event will focus on the Mayor’s new ‘Healthy Streets’ agenda and particularly what this means for cycling and walking, as well as the wide ranging implications for everyone in the capital.

“Through these talks we are able to provide a space for inspiring and thought-provoking discussions about how we can make our city a better place to live, work and move around. We hope Street Talks will cement its profile as a key event for anyone with an interest in the way people use streets and public spaces in London.”
#StreetTalks: Wednesday 22 February, 6-8pm, at Look Mum No Hands, 49 Old St, London EC1V 9HX.

The event is free but registration is required with a strict capacity limit.
Go to:

Record numbers using London’s hire bikes, says TfL

Enjoying a day out in London with Santander Cycles

More than 600,000 journeys were made using the capital’s hire bikes in January, reports Transport for London (TfL). Some 638,491 trips were made using the Santander cycle hire scheme last month beating last year’s January record of 586,325, says TfL.

Last year 10.3m hires were made using Santander Cycles – a 4.4% increase on 2015. In total since the scheme was launched in July 2010, there have been more than 56m journeys, says TfL.

Improvements made to the scheme last year included the introduction of safety Blaze Laserlights to all 11,500 bikes, a new Santander Cycles Business Accounts scheme, and more bikes and docking stations including at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Later this year TfL will introduce second generation bike for Santander Cycles which will be lighter with smaller wheels, a lower frame, a new gear hub and a more comfortable seat.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Cycling helps to improve our health, air quality and congestion, and that’s why I’m investing record amounts to make it even safer and easier for all Londoners to take to two wheels.”

Paul Cowperthwaite, TfL’s general manager responsible for Santander Cycles, said: “Last year was a remarkable success for Santander Cycles, with new records being set for the busiest weekend, month and year. And this year will also be an exciting one as new lighter, more manoeuvrable bikes will be released to encourage even more people to have a go and widen the appeal of the scheme even further.”

The cycle scheme now covers 100 square kilometres of London, with more than 750 docking stations, making it the second largest cycle hire scheme in Europe. Since launching in July 2010, more than 57m journeys have been made.

More than a million hires have now been made using the Santander Cycles app, which was launched in May 2015 to make it easier to find and hire bicycles.

'Councils must create bespoke cycling & walking plans'

Walking and cycling infrastructure comes in all shapes and sizes: some good and some not. A
cohesive plan, integrated with other modes, is needed to deliver committed schemes that work for all

The national Cycling and Walking Strategy (CWIS) is due to be launched by the Department for Transport (DfT) by summer 2017, with an aim of integrating walking and cycling as a ‘normal part of everyday life’ by 2040. But local authorities must commit to developing bespoke plans for their cycling and walking network, says Anthony Jones, Senior Consultant, Atkins

The ambitious targets range from doubling cycling, reversing the decline in walking activity, reducing cyclist fatalities or serious injuries and increasing the number of children (aged 5-10 years) walking to school. The benefits are far-reaching, from encouraging local economic growth, to positively impacting health and well-being and promoting sustainable transport modes. However local authorities must recognise the true value the strategy can bring, and commit to developing bespoke plans for their cycling and walking network.

To achieve these targets, cycling and walking will need to become the natural choice for shorter journeys, or as part of a longer journey. To put the scale of the challenge in context, currently 69% of journeys under five miles are taken by car, 22% of journeys are walked and less than 2% are cycled*. The role of local authorities in developing local networks that are safe, appealing and enjoyable for cyclists and pedestrians to use is vital to success.

The Cycling and Walking strategy sets clear guidelines for helping local authorities commit to improving cycling and walking in the local area. This should be demonstrated by taking a ‘strategic approach to improving conditions’ for cyclists and pedestrians, by ‘issuing guidelines on the preparation of local cycling and walking infrastructure plans (LCWIPs)’ and promoting the development of LCWIPs in regions with ‘significant potential for high levels of cycling and walking.’

Existing programmes such as the Local Sustainable Transport Fund and Cycle Ambition Cities has taught us that their popularity has created a highly competitive bidding environment. As more authorities compete for funds, the need to demonstrate concise and strategic implementation grows.

Whilst these plans seem to tick all of the boxes, some authorities are questioning why they would invest in developing them in the first place, without any real confirmation that the strategy will in fact offer significant funding: an issue that the government will need to carefully consider before the strategy is published. What has been carefully considered however, is the vast list of benefits that the plans can bring to any region.

Firstly, producing an up-to-date list of schemes. A real benefit of this process is that it can take the form of a ‘live study’ which can be easily updated either to reflect changes in priorities, or to accommodate new or proposed developments. This ensures that proposed schemes don’t become out-of-date, and that they reflect current thinking on transport. This embeds a level of responsiveness that will allow a local authority to respond quickly to funding announcements or bids.

Secondly, providing adaptation for funder requirements. The LCWIP process can allow a local authority to rank and prioritise schemes to align with a specific programme or funder. Through the information-gathering process, local authorities can collect a wide range of data to support future funding bids.

The next benefit is visual representation by using tools such as the ‘Propensity to Cycle’ or Sustrans ‘RATE’ tool. An interactive visual representation of schemes can be a real boon when engaged in dialogue with either potential funders or local communities. The process will engage the public through public consultation events, where the community can view and actively engage in decision making and network planning.

Finally, it can provide structure to the network planning process, ensuring that a strategic network is developed around the greatest trip generators or where interventions are most required.

The process will allow local authorities to tackle junctions which cause problems for cycle traffic, corridors with high traffic speeds and volumes and identify potential missing links in a cycle and walking network. Even for the seasoned cynic, the key benefits alone demonstrate how and why the strategy is a real opportunity to change the way we travel.

It allows local authorities to contribute positively to the government’s transformative vision for cycling and walking. The ambition outlined with the strategy can only be positive, and whilst 2040 may seem a long way off, the turnaround required to reach the aspiring targets is significant. The 2040 vision is achievable, with the mobilisation of local authorities and communities to support it.

Anthony Jones will be speaking at the Sustainable Transport + Health Summit at Bristol City Hall on Friday 24 February 2017

Anthony Jones:The role of local authorities in developing local networks that are
safe, appealing and enjoyable for cyclists and pedestrians to use is vital to success.

Laughter helps drive home the road safety message


Councils are using humour to raise awareness of road safety issues among children and parents. They are handing out booklets, by creative agency Serious Comedy, which feature amusing scenarios to shed light on dangerous parking and driving as well as offering children advice on how to cycle safely to school.

One of the guides – ‘Should You Sack Your Chauffeur?’ – shows parents committing offences such as using a mobile phone while driving, to the chagrin and dismay of their child passengers.
Another, entitled ‘Why Animals Can’t Ride Bikes’, has a procession of ‘calamitous creatures’ committing a series of cycling errors.

The illustrated booklets are being used by councils across the UK including Peterborough, Hampshire, East Ayrshire, Dudley, Thurrock, Southend on Sea, Cambridgeshire and the London boroughs of Croydon, Lewisham, Harrow, Camden, Enfield, Haringey and Islington.

Jeffrey Sarpong, Harrow’s senior road safety officer, says: “Humour is an effective way of influencing behaviour, especially for children. The humorous elements of the booklets make them memorable and help with interaction and keeping them engaged on the road safety message.”

Harrow council offer the booklets to every pupil in selected year groups, says Sarpong. “So, for example, all our Year 4 pupils will receive a copy of ‘Should You Sack Your Chauffeur?’ as the language and terminology is appropriate for that age group.

“Each school operates differently – some schools use them as part of a class discussion or incorporate as part of a ‘road safety/school travel’ themed activity. Others simply hand them out to pupils to take home.”

Sarpong believes that the booklets help reinforce key road safety messages to pupils. “Schools have submitted positive reviews of the booklets and have used them in initiatives such as road safety and school travel campaigns.”

This is echoed by Susan Martin, Croydon’s senior road safety officer. “Teacher feedback has been positive in respect of the style and the content of the different booklets,” she says.

“As this is a relatively new project we are in early stages of gauging depth of behaviour change. The booklets all fit in with our other areas of work within road safety education such as Bikeability, sustainable travel, transitional package and scoot safe.”

Should You Sack Your Chauffeur? has been given to all Year 3 pupils in the borough and, in some cases, also to Year 4 children “due to increasingly dangerous driver behaviour on school runs and parking at schools”, says Martin.

Both Harrow and Croydon say that funding for the booklets came from Transport for London’s Local Implementation Plan.

Darren Ruddell, creative director at Serious Comedy, says: “Humour breaks down walls and disarms resistance. If you can make someone laugh, or even smile, you’ve got them on your side and they’re more open to taking your message on board.”

There is also the “evangelising effect”, he says. “If something makes you laugh you want to share it. That’s the holy grail for a lot of advertising agencies; to make something for a brand that people want to share. Kids in particular get bored of being told what to do, or even worse what not to do, and straight away the barrier goes up. But the content we produce is couched in terms they associate with fun and enjoyment. They want to read it and show it to their friends.”

Ruddell believes that “shock and horror” tactics are no longer seen as an effective way of conveying the road safety message.

“We’ve been fortunate to find a number of forward thinking individuals within the road safety sector who are receptive to our methods. They realise we need to engage with our audience on another level. Those who’ve seen the success we’ve had with the road safety booklets now want to use the same approach in other fields.”

He adds: “In the main our booklets are given to each child in a specific year. We would love every child to be able to take a booklet home but understand that budgets might not always permit that, so they work as standalone booklets, which the children will love to read or in conjunction with lesson plans in the classroom.

“To make it possible for everyone to have a booklet which they can keep we’re now looking to run a collective purchase scheme allowing boroughs to purchase 5,000 booklets at a greatly reduced price.”

Serious Comedy is developing techniques to help generate feedback from readers to the booklets. An online feedback form is included at the back of ‘Should You Sack Your Chauffeur?’ “This enabled enabled the children testing their parents to input the test results,” says Ruddell. “This creates an analytic we send back to the councils showing the parental driving behaviours. To date, of the parents tested, 100% said that the test made them consider the way they drive.

“This a direct and quantifiable effect of the interaction prompted by the booklet, without the need for the council to deliver any kind of finger-wagging lecture to the parents. In the future we hope to develop the booklet into an App that will allows children to email their parents a funny dismissal letter and at the same time gather data.”

Serious Comedy are giving away 50 copies of ‘Why Animals Can’t Ride Bikes and You Can’ and ‘Why Animals Can’t Ride Scooters and You Can’ on a first come first served basis.


Redbridge considers roll-out of Copenhagen Crossings

Waltham Forest’s blended Copenhagen Crossings could serve as the template for a similar project in the neighbouring London borough of Redbridge, says the council’s cabinet member for environment & sustainability John Howard.

Howard said he has been following with interest Waltham Forest’s roll-out of pedestrian and cyclist friendly measures as part of its Mini Holland Programme, with £27m funding awarded by former mayor Boris Johnson.

The blended Copenhagen Crossings are designed to slow down vehicles entering or exiting side roads and encourage drivers to give way to pedestrians crossing the road.

“I would consider installing Copenhagen Crossings,” says Howard. “Waltham Forest is really leading the way on this and there are definitely some lessons to learn from it. It works well around town centres, but you have to be bold with the proposals. There is a lot of merit about changing roads so they are dominated by people rather the cars in the right places.”

John Howard
John Howard: Waltham Forest is really leading the way on Copenhagen Crossings
and there are definitely some lessons to learn from it